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This article will review the Australian Animal Welfare Standards for Cows to demonstrate the benefit of surrendering any unwanted, ill, injured or retired cows to us to be rehomed to a loving home. This is the first of various articles on the subject.

In 2016 the new ‘Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Cattle’ were written and agreed by the State and Territory Governments. From the first part of the title of the document you would imagine that the guidelines and standards would be revolved around improving the conditions and practices of the cows in the dairy and beef industry, yet this is not the case. The standards can be characterised as describing a minimum threshold of how the cows are to be treated to ensure the workers are not liable for prosecution of animal cruelty. It is evident that the standards the workers have to comply with are minuscule when it comes to allowing the cows to lead a happy life as demonstrated in the two standards outlined below:

Standard 2.1 A person in charge must ensure cattle have reasonable access to adequate and appropriate feed and water

Standard 5.2 A person handling cattle must not

1) lift cattle off the ground by only the head, ears, horns, neck or tails unless in an emergency; or

2) Drop cattle except to land and stand on their feet; or

3) Strike, punch or kick, cattle in an unreasonable manner; or

4) Drag cattle that are not standing; or

5) Deliberately dislocate or break the tail of cattle; or

6) Use metal pellets to wound cattle as an aid for mustering

It is evident from just these two standards shown that the standards in the document involve a minimum standard, such as ensuring the cows have water and food, which should be characterised as basic need that any animal needs without having to be outlined as a standard to conform with.

Furthermore, a vital aspect about this new Animal Welfare document for cows is that it is not legally binding until the various states and territories have incorporated the standards into legislation. Currently only South Australia and the Northern Territory have incorporated these standards into law. The rest of Australia has either still considering the standards (Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania), intending to adopt into law eventually (Victoria), opting not to regulate these standards (Western Australia) and has incorporated the standards into legislation but has made the standards not mandatory (Queensland). This means that the standards and guidelines, which can be described as outlining a low threshold on how to treat Cows in the industry are not mandatory in most parts of Australia, and thus this quality of life for the cows in the industry are not always adhered to.

Even though Australia has attempted to implement a basic standard to the way cows live in these industries, it is evident that these basic standards are not enough to ensure that the cows are given some type of life before they are eventually sold for parts at a profit. Instead of having these minimum standards the document should be striving for a standard that is revolved around making life better for the cows. Therefore there is a need for further legal standards to be created that give cows better rights and a better life. If you are reading this and believe that there is a kinder way for cows, then show them by following these prompts:

Do you, or anyone you know, have acreage? Are you interested in companion cows for your property or a herd of soil regenerators for your land? Get in touch and help us find loving homes for these beautiful creatures. Here is a listing of animals available today (updated daily): If you see a herd perfect for you, complete this adoption application and one of our dedicated volunteers will be in touch: Please note that as with all pet adoption organisations, this one too has costs to consider.

If you don’t have the space, you can still support our work and help us make this rescue a reality by donating here:

by Luella Botteon